2019 Darley Sprint Classic Preview
The 2019 Darley Sprint Classic is one of two Group 1 events on Saturday and some of the best sprinters in the country will do battle down the Flemington straight.
Santa Ana Lane won the Darley Sprint Classic 12 months ago and he will go into this contest as a clear favourite, but he won’t have things his own way against a field that includes other Group 1 winners like Nature Strip, The Bostonian, In Her Time, Alizee and Loving Gaby.
We have analysed the complete field and our 2019 Darley Sprint Classic tips can be found below.
Santa Ana Lane
I still believe that Santa Ana Lane is the best sprinter in the country and he can win the Darley Sprint Classic for the second year in a row. He is a horse that generally does improve the further that he gets into his campaign and he heads into the Darley Sprint Classic on the back of second place finishes in both the Gilgai Stakes and The Everest. There was plenty to like about the way that he savaged the line in The Everest and a return to the Flemington straight does suit. He will prove very tough to hold out late.
Nature Strip showed that he is capable of running out a strong 1200 metres when he finished a tough fourth in The Everest and there is no doubt that he will give his rivals something to catch. The Nicconi gelding clearly does enjoy the Flemington straight and he has recorded three wins from as many starts at the venue. The question is whether he will be strong enough over 1200 metres to hold-off a flying Santa Ana Lane and I am not convinced. I am happy to take him on at the current price.
Rock Magic finished a more than credible fourth in the Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes and he very rarely runs a bad race. I don’t think that he has the upside to beat the likes of Santa Ana Lane at this stage of his racing career, but he ran well in both the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes and the Newmarket Handicap and there is no reason that he can’t do the same again.
The Bostonian has been thereabouts without every really looking like a winning chance this campaign. The Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes did look to be the right race for him and he could finish no better than fifth. It is tough to see him returning to winning form in the Darley Sprint Classic.
Malibu Style has been racing well without winning this campaign, but this is a big step-up in quality. He has been outclassed each time that he has stepped up to Group 1 level in the past and it would be a surprise if the same thing didn’t happen again in this contest.
Zoutori chased home Sunlight and Santa Ana Lane in the Gilgai Stakes before he was beaten as an odds-on favourite in the TAB Stakes on Victoria Derby Day. He never really seemed to let down in that contest and he didn’t appear to enjoy the give in the Flemington track. This is tougher and it is tough to back him with any real confidence.
In Her Time
In Her Time was set for an first-up tilt at The Everest and she finished a slightly disappointing ninth. She generally does produce her highest-rating performance first-up and it is tough to see how she can turn-the-tables on the likes of Santa Ana Lane over 1200 metres.
Alizee is another horse that comes out of The Everest. She lost no admirers with that performance and she did end up being beaten by only three lengths. I’m still not convinced that 1200 metres is her best trip though and I’m not sure that she is good enough to match it with Santa Ana Lane and Nature Strip over this distance.
Loving Gaby is the x-factor in the Darley Sprint Classic field. She took advantage of her light weight and an excellent Craig Williams ride to win the Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes and there is no reason that she can’t do the same again. This is a tougher race and she will need to improve, but the Flemington straight should suit and she still has a huge amount of upside. The $9 currently available is over the odds.